For a long time, girls basketball has been one of the stronger sports here at Mason, having a variety of state titles and bringing home the conference championship trophy, like this year. The boys basketball team has also faced great successes, finishing with a record of 24-1 last season and going undefeated in the 2015-16 season as of February 21.
Though both teams are talented, as a member of the girls basketball team for three years, there is an obvious and disappointing difference in the way girls basketball is treated versus boys basketball.
When both teams compete on the same night, as they did last Friday, girls have been given the earlier time slot. As any sports fan and athlete knows, the later time results in larger fan attendance. Our game is just starting while other athletes are still in practice or just getting out, and toward the end of our games is when the stands start to fill up. In addition, with the volume of homework Mason students deal with, it is easier for students to go to the later games.
Our second to last regular season game was against our school’s main rival Clarke County and following our game, the boys played their Madison County. Despite these challenges, that night we got some fans to come out, creating a more crowded gym than normal.
However, I was disappointed when I saw during the girls game, the student section was filled with students sitting, talking and looking at their phones while we were playing a close game, up by only 5 points at halftime. On the other hand, when the boys game began and more students started to show up, everyone stood up and cheered the boys on the whole time, even when they ended up beating Madison handily by 22.
A popular strategy for alerting and encouraging students to come out to the game is Twitter. For important games when teams will need support, players and fans will post tweets with a #Beat____. Throughout my three years of playing girls basketball at Mason, we have never received a hashtag specifically for the girls, including conference or regional games. Boys, on the other hand, frequently receive their own hashtags each year. Just two weeks ago, the boys took on Madison County and received a #Beatmadison trend resulting in over 60 photos posted on Twitter.
It’s great that our fellow classmates are so excited to support the boys basketball team, but for people to come and support the equally hard working girls basketball team is just as earned as it is for the boys.